How To Install A WordPress Theme & Page Builder

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Feature image of how to install a wordpress theme and page builder by GradSimple.

What is a WordPress Theme?

You can think of a WordPress theme as a pre-built template you can use to style your WordPress website. A theme changes the look of how content on your website is displayed (images, typography, etc). 

When you first install WordPress, it comes with a default theme. While you can keep it, I recommend that you install a different one that gives you more flexibility to design your site exactly the way you want it. 

How Do You Pick a Theme?

WordPress has its own library of themes, some free, some paid. There are many external theme options out there for you to select from as well. 

While you have many options, it is essential that you download a theme from a trusted developer. Why? Because, certain themes, especially free ones come with bugs and can carry security risks. Also, some themes have better code than others, which impacts the performance of your website.

Being someone who cares a lot about website performance and speed, I’ve done extensive research on the best themes in the market. My criteria for best is a theme that’s lightning fast, easy to use, gives me a ton of creative control, and has exceptional customer support. 

So, while deciding on a theme, I considered between GeneratePress, Astra, and Elementor

I chose GeneratePress and have been using it happily ever since, for all of my WordPress websites. 

In my opinion, it’s the best WordPress theme on the market. It consistently ranks 1 – 3 in terms of speed out of all themes, it’s well known for having “clean” code, it’s run by a reputable developer, and has top tier customer service (trust me, this is VERY important).

GeneratePress also offers a wide selection of style templates for WordPress sites that you can pick from! You can also create your own template from scratch using its complementary site builder called GenerateBlocks. I will show you how to do this later on so hold tight. 

While GeneratePress is free, their premium subscription is significantly better and comes with a lot of useful features to style your site. I’ve personally invested in premium so if you’re serious about building a great website, I highly recommend that you invest in it too. 

At the time of writing, it costs $59/year.  

Note: If you want to follow the rest of my guides on how to build your website, you will need to have GeneratePress premium. I will be using various features that are not available on the free theme. This is the only essential paid tool we’ll use to create your website. 

How To Install a WordPress Theme

To install a free WordPress Theme, you’ll need to download it from the WordPress library of themes and activate it. 

In this example, I’ll show you how to download and install GeneratePress. 

First, login to your WordPress dashboard, either by typing your site name followed by /wp-admin, or directly through SiteGround. 

When you’re on your WordPress dashboard, go to Appearance → Themes

You will notice a few pre-installed WordPress themes that are already on your dashboard. Ignore them, as will delete them shortly. Now, click on Add New

You’ll be taken to the WordPress Library of themes. 

Type in GeneratePress, press Search and click INSTALL

Once the theme is installed, an ACTIVATE button will appear. Click on it so that we can activate the GeneratePress theme for your website. You now have the free version of GeneratePress installed and activated! 

Now, let’s delete the pre-installed WordPress themes so that we reduce clutter on your site’s backend that could slow it down. 

Again, go back to Themes. Delete all of them that are not GeneratePress. For each theme you want to delete, simply hover over the theme, and click on Theme Details. 

You’ll be taken to the theme’s description page. On the bottom right corner, click DELETE. A pop-up will appear asking if you are sure you want to delete the theme, click OK. 

How To Install GeneratePress Premium

To get premium, head to GeneratePress, and click on GET STARTED. 

The license can be renewed every year. If you don’t renew it, your website will still work fine. The renewal is paid for support and future updates. This is common across all WordPress support software. 

Once you’ve followed the steps and paid for a license, login to your GeneratePress account. On the homepage, you will see 2 options under Downloads, GeneratePress and GP Premium – Yearly. 

Since you’ve already downloaded GeneratePress earlier, you’ll just have to download GP Premium – Yearly. Click DOWNLOAD

The next step is to upload the premium add-on into your WordPress. 

Login to your WordPress dashboard and on the left-hand menu, go to Plugins

On the top left corner, click on Add New

Then, click on UPLOAD PLUGIN.

Screenshot of how to upload a plugin on WordPress by GradSimple.

Click on CHOOSE FILE and upload the gp-premium file.

Once you’ve uploaded it, click on INSTALL NOW. After a few seconds, click on the ACTIVATE PLUGIN button which will appear. 

You’ll be redirected to the Plugin page on your WordPress dashboard where you’ll be able to see all of the plugins you’ve installed. 

Now, click on Appearance on the left-hand menu. You will see a new option called GeneratePress. Click it.

You’ll have to insert your GP premium license key. Go back to your GeneratePress account, copy your license key under GP Premium – Yearly, and paste it in the box provided on WordPress. 

Then, click Update Key. I recommend that you do not toggle on the option to Receive BETA updates. 

Screenshot of where to add license key for GeneratePress on WordPress by GradSimple.

How To Activate GeneratePress Modules

On the same page where you just inserted your license key, click Activate for the following:

  • Backgrounds
  • Blog
  • Copyright
  • Disable Elements
  • Menu Plus
  • Spacing

This is how it should look like:

With GeneratePress premium installed, let’s download their free website builder! 

How To Install A WordPress Website Page Builder

A website page builder is a software that allows you to build a website without having to code. It’s necessary if you don’t have web development experience or know how to code. 

While WordPress comes installed with a basic block editor called Gutenberg, it doesn’t offer much customization options and flexibility. So, you’ll need a page builder. 

Getting used to using page builders will take some time as there’s a learning curve. However, once you’ve spent the time to play around with the software, you’ll be well on your way to creating a beautiful website (it’s much easier than learning to code from 0 if you ask me).

My website page builder of choice is GenerateBlocks, by GeneratePress.

It’s created by the same developers of GeneratePress. This means that GenerateBlocks will work seamlessly with your theme without any bugs or complications. Plus, the free version is all you need.

GenerateBlocks is an ultra lightweight and clean (in terms of code) page builder. It’s a great tool to ensure that your site is as fast as it can be. This is critical for your site’s performance and for SEO. 

How To Install GenerateBlocks

Go back to Plugins on the left-hand menu. Click on Add New. 

Look for GenerateBlocks using the search bar. 

Then, click INSTALL and then ACTIVATE

And that’s it! You will see a new option called GenerateBlocks on the left-hand menu. 

Screenshot of GenerateBlocks dashboard on WordPress by GradSimple.

What’s Next?

Next up, I’ll show you how to setup Google Search Console so that you can track how your website is doing on Google search results.

A little birdy once said: “a storm is coming. An EPIC storm of people who challenge the status quo and are intent on finding their ikigai.” Little birdy is talking about GradSimple’s upcoming community of course. Join us and be part of the storm.

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The human who runs the ship. Occasional writer, occasional web developer. Yes, this is the guy who hired a raccoon (if you know, you know).

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